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Alpha lupi

Alpha Lupi's Bungie.net avatar

Alpha Lupi was a Bungie-created forum account on Bungie.net to use for an alternate reality game (ARG)/viral marketing campaign (VMC) in 2013 for the announcement of Destiny.

Timeline of Events[]


The "Alpha Lupi" account[1] was created on February 8, 2013, and, like other official accounts, is distinguished from a regular member's account by its custom avatar. This distinguishing characteristic is essential in identifying Alpha Lupi as an ARG/VMC controlled by Bungie rather than one of the numerous fan-created ARGs.

Alpha Lupi's custom avatar contains a stylized version of the symbol for Fourier Transform pairs[2], a clue that turned out to be essential in solving the puzzles.

The name "Alpha Lupi" references the star Alpha Lupi, which is located in the southern constellation of Lupus. Alpha Lupi is the brightest star in that constellation, is readily visible to the naked eye, and is located around 460 light years from Earth.

Day 7: Monday, February 11, 2013[]

Alpha Lupi's first post[3] also contained a link to alphalupi.bungie.net.[4]

Alpha lupi monday puzzle

The welcome page for Monday visitors to the Alpha Lupi site.

Upon visiting the link, users were greeted with a mysterious welcome page that contained a Geomantic Figure[5] and the instructions, "Begin by aligning the day's pattern to the light." The page also said "Monday" at the top and contained numbers counting down from 7 to 1. The "7" was highlighted, indicating that this was "Day 7" and that the days would count down from there.

Days and Signs

Geomantic figures and days of the week, cross-reference chart created for the Alpha Lupi VMC.

Users quickly realized that they needed to enter the "Daytime" geomantic figure for Monday. By cross referencing Geomantic figures with old Roman names for days of the week, users realized that the correct geomantic figure for Monday was "Populus" and unlocked the first puzzle.

Upon unlocking the puzzle, users were greeted with a second page entitled "Pattern Active. The page contained two highly distorted and unrecognizable images side-by-side. The right image was captioned "Active baselines" on top and, underneath, captioned "Frequency gaps detected. Additional global observatories required."

2013-02-11 Pattern Active.

The initial "Pattern Active" page for Day 7.

Destiny ARG Instructions

The instructions found on the Alpha Lupi site

The left image was captioned "Coordinate. Combine. Clarify." on top and, underneath, captioned "Note: (x,y) visibility limited. (u,v) analysis might prove useful." The caption underneath also contained a hyperlink to a page entitled "Instructions"[6], which read as follows:

Our sky is filled with unseen signals. Radio-frequency emissions pulse and flit and dance all around us. Yet even a singing patch of sky can be observed, and transformed into a range of frequencies.
Can you hear it? No, not yet. It has not yet arrived. But together we can receive its call.
Imagine combining the observations of thousands across the globe on an object meandering through the heavens. The resulting array would be quite large. Quite powerful. This is your task.
Alone it will not be enough. Coordination and timing is needed. Observations must be made simultaneously.
Your window will be small. Five minutes at most. But windows may be reopened. And the distance between observer pairs will be key.
There will always be limitations in clarity, so the results must be archived for study. Highly technical observers may be required. Detailed frequency analysis is recommended.
Everything that belongs to us will be ours, but only if we create the capacity to receive it.

Users realized that the distorted images would become clearer and clearer as more and more people viewed it at the same time. As word of the site spread across social networks and other websites, the distorted images began to change, and did, indeed, become clearer.

With the images becoming more complete, and with the Instructions page stating that "highly technical observers may be required" and "detailed frequency analysis is recommended," users began experimenting with the images.

Late on Monday evening, Reddit user Techercizer[7] solved the puzzle. How he did it in his words[8]:

I used the Fourier transform filter you provided on a more recent version of the image. I also filtered out a lot of the unnecessary hues to clean up the picture. I noticed the high points of the image (the ones that stand out from the noise) seem to be symmetric around a 180 degree rotation; flipping the image confirmed this almost precisely, and since the noise was not symmetric it allowed me to get a much clearer picture.

Here's the result

Here's the output before I cut it down further and merged it with its 180 degree rotation

It's nowhere near as clear as your green channel only cut, but it does contain data that might have been cut out when you filtered it as such.

Here's said transform with R/B channels cut out, in true colour. It's getting clearer with time, presumably as word spreads and the picture develops.

The exciting bit is when you invert the left image and overlay it with the green channel of the Fourier transform of the right image; they match exactly, and you can use them to cancel out the noise and clean up the number significantly! Here's the current overlay as I've compiled it

Interestingly enough is that an hour later the text is less clear. Either because less people are online, or because the image is fluctuating with time. If it's the former, we wait for Europe to come online and give us the resolution we need; if it's the latter, we may be able to clean up shots and overlay them with time to pick out the message. I'm working on the latter in case things don't improve.

Actually making great progress with overlaying these images; two alone is almost enough to clean up the number with my latest method. Is there a place I can post updates other than just constantly editing this post?

Current cleaned up version after 3 images. The more I get with time, the clearer this will get. Note that I'm going slow in order to minimize the buildup of interference as I overlay these; you can get a bit more suggestions of structure if you're less discriminating.

It is important to note that even with these developments, the image remains identical even when rotated 180 degrees; literally, right down to the spots where data is missing. There's really only half an image here, Fourier-speaking, though you wouldn't know it from the face image.

The data is the name of an image. Used on the ARG site, it gives this. Good going guys!

My guess is it's a wait until the next Geomancy symbol and another puzzle to be decoded. In the absence of further changes, I'd say it's breakfast for some, sleep for others, and hours of staring at the screen for still more. See you guys next day.

Here's the .PSD of my overlays if anyone decides they care. Most of the processes I used were destructive, so you can't work these backwards into much; PM me if you want something else analyzed or if you want some of the intermediate frames.

Final pass for realsies, in .PSD form; that's pretty clear. You can toggle layers to try and screen out interference; each layer is at 70% opacity to help dampen noise.

Probably my final edit for the day: if anyone wants an explanation for what the images mean, what processes I used, or how I cleaned and compiled all the data, feel free to PM me or ask here (though this thread is kind of crowded). I'd really like to do a separate post on the methodology behind the solutions here, but I don't think there's enough interest for that, so I'll just answer on an as-needed basis.


Techercizer's image manipulations resulted in an image that was clear enough to lead users to the next clue.

Techercizer's image manipulations resulted in an image that was clear enough to lead users to the page alphalupi.bungie.net/98862748014.jpg[9].

On that page was a cleaned-up image with the following text:


The final Monday image.

The best voices -- voices that truly matter -- never allow themselves to be heard. This lesson is worth learning again and again.
Your voice moves as whispers, murmurs and urges inside larger winds. Only the trusted few can absorb what is necessary. Wise and sly and perfect, your instructions drop, leaving nothing but the hard sweet rime of enlightenment.
The path is set. Your voice is unleashed. Except now it is gone...
And maybe it never was.

Day 6: Tuesday, February 12, 2013[]

2013-02-12 Pattern Active

Tuesday's "Pattern Active" puzzle.

Cleanoutput2 zpsf5501f5b

Image manipulation on Tuesday's puzzle revealed a QR code.

Day 6 began much the same as the first. Users entered the correct "Tuesday" geomantic symbol (from the chart above) and were confronted with a similar page and identical instructions as in Monday's puzzle.

Once again, the image could only be unscrambled when enough users clicked on the site simultaneously. Instead of a URL this time, the image manipulation resulted in a QR code, simultaneously deciphered by Reddit users Techercizer[7] and SheeEttin[10] to lead to alphalupi.bungie.net/09394972304.jpg[11].

Like Monday, the Tuesday page contained a cleaned-up version of the Output image and read as follows:

Life waits inside this world's bones.
Your voice flows across the red rock and through the dead valleys, speaking in codes and goads.
Ancient volcanoes swell, exploding at their peaks and splitting wide along their shoulders. Ash clouds blacken the starved air. A fossil ocean of ice softens and collapses; geysers erupt, tall as mountains, throwing up steam and clouds.
Every moment matters. And from a great distance, in the midst of a thousand careful disasters, you watch the transformation with your own eyes.
The rose has blossomed.

Tuesday's puzzle solved.

Day 5: Wednesday, February 13, 2013[]

2013-02-13 Pattern Active

Wednesday's "Pattern Active" page with few active nodes.

2013-02-13 Masked Output

Early image manipulation on Wednesday's puzzle.

Day 5 was similar to the previous days. Users entered the correct "Wednesday" geomantic symbol (see chart, above), and saw yet another set of scrambled images. Using the same descrambling methods as used on previous days, users uncovered a set of numbers that formed a circle.

However, it was there that progress stalled. With not enough users logging into the alphalupi.bungie.net site at the same time, not enough dots were formed and thus several gaps in the "unscrambled" image made finding the solution impossible. Several users attempted to "brute force" Bungie.net by creating scripts to rapidly request many possible combinations, but none worked. As of late afternoon, no solution had yet been found and users began to wonder what would happen if the day's solution was not cracked.

As the day wore on, the "Instructions" page on the Alpha Lupi site was eventually edited and updated with the following:

Think not of locations, but the spacings between, as seen from each target. While one hemisphere provides a strong center, the other must heed the call in order to bring light to the unknown

Finally, at approximately 7:00 PM PST[12], Sunburned Goose[13] from Bungie.net posted the link to the image. It was similar in appearance to the previous days puzzles, and the text read as follows:

One face is blistered, the other plunged into a brutal chill. Is this how it's always been?
You remember hot oceans, nourishing atmosphere. But something transpired, kicked what was wet and fertile into space, stealing away everything of value. Or perhaps what thrived here for a day or for ten million years decided to leave, peeling its wet organics off the bones.
A name offers itself, and another, and a thousand more.
The answer feels like the iron heart of a collapsed star, and you realize the union between the past and the future is now.

Wednesday's puzzle solved.

Day 4: Thursday, February 14, 2013[]

2013-02-14 Pattern Active

Thursday's "Pattern Active" page with few active nodes.

2013-02-14 early image manipulation

Early image manipulation on Thursday's puzzle.

On Day 4, as on previous days, users were prompted to enter the correct "Thursday" geomantic symbol (see chart, above). Upon doing so, they received another set of scrambled images.

As on Wednesday, progress on Thursday was slow. With fewer participants, the puzzle remained obscured for most of the day. Additionally, with the numbers being aligned in a ring, it was more difficult to guess the placement of obscured numbers.

Finally, around 8:00 PM Pacific Time, IRC[14] user elcapytan solved the numbers, finding the day's unscrambled image and posting the results. The image's appearance was similar to previous days' puzzles, and the text read as follows:

Even the largest body lets itself be pushed where it needs to be, seduced into nice, warm loving orbits. Persistence is the key.
Seafloors transform and then yank themselves skyward, shattering the icy crust as new worlds awaken inside the swirling depths.
You build homes of ocean laid over stone; giant and tiny, surrounding this half-born sun ripped by storms and supersonic wind.
You deliver your last orders to an army that needs nothing anymore -- not instruction, courage or even prayers -- and then you hide again.
In ecstasy they search for you, finding nothing but dense quiet dropping from the stars.

Thursday's puzzle solved.

Day 3: Friday, February 15, 2013[]

2013-02-15 Pattern Active

Friday's "Pattern Active" page.


Image manipulation on Friday's puzzle with RGB all together.

On Friday, though the methods of reaching the scrambled image were the same, the decoding process was a little more complicated. This time, the numbers on the descrambled image appeared in a straight line, but showed different numbers on different red, green, and blue "color channels," resulting in 3 sets of numbers and a much longer image file.

Undaunted, however, users took advantage of specially written auto-refreshing browser scripts to quickly gain enough hits on the Pattern Active site to make educated guesses at the right numbers after filtering. Friday's puzzle was solved faster than any other so far, with Bungie.net user Sunburned Goose[13] being the first to decipher the puzzle around 10:00 AM PST[15]. The deciphered set of numbers revealed a final image page similar to the others so far. The text on this page read as follows:

You see history hidden between the barren rocks and within the high acid clouds. You see ruin emerging from where it has always been, ready to claim its birthright.
Sunlight is starved. The fierceness is chilled and thinned, made sweet again. A new ocean emerges, thick and salty and hot, from springs and geysers that drench the dead ground.
You wonder: will this world's second breath be its finest? You draw deep inside, seeking direction, truth...
But all you have are the riddles of your own intentions.

The final image from Friday's puzzle.

Day 2: Saturday, February 16, 2013[]


Image manipulation on Saturday's image.

Image manipulation day 6

Cleaned up image manipulation from Saturday's puzzle.

Like on previous days, users retrieved the scrambled image using the day's geomantic pattern. It emerged that the unscrambled image revealed a circular ring of numbers that led to the puzzle's solution.

On Saturday, an additional twist became apparent as not only the dots on the scrambled image were rotating, but also the final solved output as well. As a result, dots could not simply be added in empty spaces to fill in the final solved image, but in fact had to be factored into how far they might have moved on the final output as well.

While this wrinkle was unexpected, the puzzle did not take too long to solve. Using a reference line in the middle of the puzzle (see image to the right), user Anroll in the IRC had the solution by early afternoon Pacific Time and posted the link to the solved image.

The final image read as follows:

You have been pushed to this place, for a reason.
A cold giant shows its night face to you. Distant moons slide past; icy little comets enslaved by a splendid master.
The lightning bolts and high clouds are swept away, and then you burrow into a sea of liquid hydrogen that boils out of the long gash.
You put yourself on the perfect trajectory, and for a fraction of an instant you allow yourself the luxury of confidence. Eyes that never close gaze everywhere and at everything. You see them in their hiding places.
And they can see you, too.

Saturday's final image.

Day 1: Sunday, February 17, 2013[]

Image manipulation day 7

Image manipulation on Sunday's image.

On Sunday, activity on the scrambled image page was higher than ever. Immediately, it became apparent that the number of dots far exceeded the previous days.

While some users thought that this phenomenon might be related to the anticipated reveal of Destiny on Sunday, a message was posted on the puzzle page stating, "Sensor relay network online. Signal boost achieved." Users speculated that Bungie wanted the final puzzle to be solved before Destiny's 10:00 AM PST reveal, and so caused more dots to appear to make deciphering the final puzzle easier.

Consequently, it was only two hours before user Conscars from the IRC channel deciphered the final image and found a link to alphalupi.bungie.net/ArraySuccessResult.html[16]. There, the final images from all days were available in full resolution, as well as the mosaic (see below).

Users were also treated to a Destiny-themed desktop wallpaper and an mp3 of a short piece of soundtrack music by Martin O'Donnnell and Michael Salvatori entitled "Eighth."[17]

The final image output contained text that read as follows:

The blaze sits inside a nest of little worlds, still too distant to share its heat but plainly staring out at you. A face emerges, drawn from plasmas and radiation...
There must be meanings in its roar.
You listen hard and carefully, and sometimes a lucid melody seems to rise out of random noise, pulling your mind into moments where it seems possible that answers are about to be revealed. Joy builds, and the first hope in ages transforms you.
It seems important, even critical, to tell every star from here to the black between the galaxies that you are strong again.

The final image output for Sunday.

Conclusions and Revelations[]

As the days of the VMC progressed, several pieces of a whole began to come together.

Signal received full

The final mosaic (note: large file).

First and most obvious was that the "final images" for each day were part of a larger mosaic. Users began to assemble these, and on the final day (the day of the Destiny reveal), the assembled mosaic was available for download. Some speculated that the assembled images resembled a modified or more complicated version of drawings found in Almagest[18], a treatise on mathematics and astronomy written in the 2nd century by Claudius Ptolemy[19]. At this point, no connections have been found to solidify this speculation.

Because the final images also had the Puerto Princesa map in the background, users also aligned the final images with that map as well, though no particular connections were immediately apparent.

Also obvious were the two countdowns of short phrases being posted once a day by Bungie. The first set of short phrases was posted by the Alpha Lupi account on Bungie.net, while the second set was posted on the following days on @Bungie on Twitter[20]. Originally, Alpha Lupi posted a phrase beginning with "7," while the first phrase on the Bungie Twitter account began with "5." As a result, users searched for days for "number 6." This turned out to be just a matter of confusion, however, as on Saturday, February 16, Alpha Lupi's first post was edited to include a full 7-through-1 countdown, while the Bungie Twitter countdown continued separately and independently.

The Alpha Lupi countdown is as follows:

7 - Only the trusted few...
6 - Every moment matters...
5 - Is this how it's always been?
4 - Persistence is the key...
3 - You draw deep inside...
2 - Pushed to this place for a reason...
1 - There must be meanings in its roar...

The Bungie Twitter countdown is as follows:

5 - Hope shines brightest in the dark.
4 - Together we will take back all that we have lost.
3 - Make the city safe again.
2 - This is our hope.
1 - Our common goal.
This is our #Destiny bit.ly/UvgxLD

Fans are speculating about the meaning of these phrases. Some believe that they are the "core values" of Destiny, while others believe that they complete a poem or short paragraph meant to hold larger meaning.

There has been much speculation on the meaning of the prose found on each day's final image, but no particular conclusions have been reached.


After the end of the ARG, the site was still running. However, upon answering the first puzzle, the text "Signal search complete. Array operating in historical mode only" is shown instead.


  1. The Alpha Lupi Bungie.net account never posted again.
  2. Bungie uploaded archival data from the Alpha Lupi website[21].
  3. Parts of the ARG appeared in the Dreams of Alpha Lupi Grimoire Cards[22].
  4. A Destiny 2 exotic chest armor is called Dreams of Alpha Lupi.



Eighth on Bungie.net[17]

  • The music bears a resemblance to the orbit music from Destiny, named The Great Unknown.
  • The track title Eighth refers to the music being an excerpt from Music of the Spheres track eight, The Hope. It can also be interpreted as an eighth in the context of a musical scale, or one full octave from the starting note. This is also in reference to The Hope, as each track in Music of the Spheres is meant to play the Lydian flat-7 scale, with The Hope returning to the starting note of C, representing an octave.
    • This is not the only reference to Music of the Spheres in Alpha Lupi. Some of the prose includes references to the track titles in their corresponding poems. For example, in Monday's poem, it says "The path is set." This is because Monday represents the Moon, and the piece from Music of the Spheres that represents the Moon is called The Path.